It’s probably no big surprise that Marley Wilkinson’s pillows are commonly purchased by lobstermen and their families for their homes on both land and water.

The pillows look like lobster buoys, and Wilkinson will personalize them with a lobsterman’s colors and registration numbers.

“A lot of people get them for their boat,” Wilkinson said. “A lot of men order them.”

They’re also big sellers as wedding gifts, decorated with the couples’ new last name or the name of the town where they got married.

Wilkinson, owner of Cobalt Sky Studio in Monroe, started making the pillows when she moved to Maine from Maryland nearly a decade ago. Someone gave her some awning fabric from a company that had gone out of business, and she started experimenting with it. The lobster buoy concept was inspired by the buoys she saw from her beach house in Pemaquid Harbor.

“My grandmother used to make pillows,” she said, “so I have a slight pillow addiction.”

For a while Wilkinson made the pillows, which cost $38 each, with repurposed drop cloths. Now she’s using 10 ounce canvas fabric (also known as duck cloth), “which is exactly what sailors used to make their sails and clothes out of,” Wilkinson said. The pillows are finished with waxed sail thread from a marine store, and each one has a loop at the top made from authentic mooring line.

You might think that Wilkinson is reinventing the wheel. This is Maine, after all, where people make birdhouses and even furniture out of lobster gear. There must be tons of lobster buoy pillows out there, right?

Wilkinson said when she started her pillow business six or seven years ago, “the first thing I did was scour Google and see if anyone was making them, and there was nothing.”

There have, however, been copycats ever since, she said.

Wilkinson has worked full-time making the pillows for the past four years and estimates she has sold 10,000. They are now in 100 retails stores across the country. In Maine, you’ll find them at The Sail Locker in Belfast, the Daytrip Society in Kennebunkport, and Sweet Bay in Boothbay Harbor. Wilkinson also sells them on her site.

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